ECN publication
Refined life-cycle assessment of polymer solar cells
Lenzmann, F.O.; Kroon, J.M.; Andriessen, R.; Espinosa, N.; Garcia-Valverde, R.; Krebs, F.C.
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Solar Energy 5-9-2011
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-M--11-020 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
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A refined life-cycle assessment of polymer solar cells is presented with a focus on critical components, i.e. the transparent conductive ITO layer and the encapsulation components. This present analysis gives a comprehensive sketch of the full environmental potential of polymer-OPV in comparison with other PV technologies. It is shown that on a m2 basis the environmental characteristics of polymer-OPV are highly beneficial, while on a watt-peak and on a kWh basis, these benefits are – at the current level of the development - still (over-)compensated by low module efficiency and limited lifetime expectancy. The findings of this study underscore that, from an environmental and sustainability point of view, the replacement of the ITO layer and the optimization of encapsulation concepts should be in the spotlight of any near-term R&D efforts of the OPV community. Solutions to both of these technological issues are actively pursued. Some of these are discussed as examples in this paper.

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